China steps ups IP protection rights for major global brands

Alison Ross

The past 30 years have presented a paradox for businesses trying to protect their brands in China. On one hand, there has been a rapid development of intellectual property (IP) law, which now offers legal protections akin to those found in many western countries. On the other hand, high levels of counterfeiting and piracy activities are still prevalent and many businesses remain reluctant to face the potential infringement of IP rights and dilution of their brands by expanding into China.

Intellectual property embraced by capitalist societies is designed to protect existing ideas and to encourage future innovation. In contrast, the traditional state-planned economy of China denied such private rights and promoted the interests of the state before the individual.

China's open door and market reform policy, during the late 1970s, led to the country reassessing its domestic policy in such areas as IP. China realised the importance of strengthening its IP protection to execute its reform policy. It introduced domestic legislation and acceded to numerous international treaties regarding the protection of IP rights.